Sunday, July 3, 2011

Diplomatic Day

Tour the U.N. building?

Today I accomplished one item on my to do list. Before we flew out from San Francisco, each member of our cohort was assigned a topic to blog about and one of the was the United Nations Building. Prior to reading the blog, I would have never thought to visit. However, the blog really sparked an interest in me to see the headquarters of the world's peacekeepers.

Initially when we arrived I was like this place looks run down, because one building was under renovation and none of the flags that surround the area were up due to rain. Once we passed through security, the exhibit about regions of the world at war drew my attention. I learned about the conflicts in countries such as Darfur. Because today is part of the holiday weekend, we were told that we had to wait two hours until we could begin our audio tour. In order to kill time, we went to the post office which was unique in that postcards bought in the U.N. building had to be sent from the U.N. post office because the U.N. isn't a part of America. After wandering around the visitor center, our RA Pavel decided to head to a local Starbucks until our tour began.
U.N. Conference Chamber

Security Council Chamber

I found the tour extremely interesting because we were allowed to actually enter the room where the conferences are held; the same room that dignitaries such as Barack Obama and Nelson Mandela have delivered speeches in. I was stuck by how simple, yet elegant the chamber appeared. The furniture wasn't the most expensive, but between the lighting, carpet, and speaker podium, the room had a important feel to it. Likewise the temporary Security Council chamber had the same feel to it.

It was nice to see the different gifts given to the U.N. from a hand woven piece which depicted the struggles of a nation during civil war, the hope for democracy, and what success would look like. My favorite part of the tour was the exhibit about the eight millennium goals. I truly can appreciate that the U.N. is recognizing problems such as malnutrition and trying to do something to solve the problem.
Interesting quote I found

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